Title - 'Creétisvan'
Artist - Mike Tiano
For those unaware, Mike Tiano is known for his bringing Yes into the Internet age. After helming one of the first online fanzines Notes From the Edge Mike created their official web site YesWorld, and for well over a decade was their web site manager.
Mike is also a musician and songwriter in his own right, now releasing Creétisvan which he characterizes as his life’s work and is informally calling the album his “audiobiography”.
As he explains, “This album is culled from many of my best compositions, written throughout my adulthood. I’ve rarely performed these, and had only recently produced them.”
What is evident is Mike’s being inspired by the likes of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and of course Yes.
Indeed, listening along to it, you will quickly discover that the tunes are in the vein of early progressive rock: lots of heart along with catchy melodies, recurring themes, sonic instrumental flights, shifting dynamics, and the kind of tuneful content which is sorely missing in today’s popular musical scene.
Every track was written and arranged by Mike, who is lead vocalist and handles the lion’s share of the guitar work. While he also produced ten of the twelve tracks, the remaining two were handled by Yes member Billy Sherwood on 'Different Drummer' while the instrumental 'Dance of the Little Guys' is the work of Randy George, bassist for the Neal Morse Band. Both musicians perform on those respective songs.
1. 'There Behind You'
2. 'On Hold'
3. 'Constant Companion'
4. 'The Dark Ages'
5. 'Dance of the Little Guys'
6. 'Different Drummer'
8. 'A Natural'
9. 'The Evergreens'
11. '(Because) You Win'
12. 'Emerge Triumphant'
Many who miss classic rock, in general, will find much to enjoy here for Mike's influences are apparent throughout the album, if none more so than the trio of openers 'There Behind You,' the translucent 'On Hold,' and the free flowing prog ambiance of 'Constant Companion.'
Next up is the mesmerizingly exquisite 'The Dark Ages,' which is itself followed by the instrumental 'Dance of the Little Guys,' and then we get Billy Sherwood on the seven minute 'Different Drummer,' the Zeppelin-esque 'Automaton' and then one of my own personal favorites here, the the Buffalo Springfield vibe of 'A Natural.'
The album begins to round out with the deliciously effervescent 'The Evergreens,' before we get treated to the Yes-like 'Triad,' the notably Beatles-inspired '(Because) You Win,' with this quite tremendous album closing on the euphorically epic 'Emerge Triumphant' (which also features a live orchestra).
Other accomplished musicians gracing Creétisvan include David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Jon Anderson’s album Animation); keyboard wizard and orchestrator Jonathan Sindelman (Keith Emerson Band, The Magic Band/Captain Beefheart); guitarist Steve McKnight (Cry Wolf, GayC/DC); keyboardist Rick Daugherty (the reformed Flash); vocalist Joanne Perica; and a host of notable Seattle-area talents.
Mike attributes the album’s “exquisite mix” to Grammy winner Steve Smith. Steve began his career as assistant engineer on Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and was a member of legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick’s production team for Supertramp’s 'Even in the Quietest Moments', where Steve participated on the hit 'Give a Little Bit'.
Steve would go on to apply his talents on projects for Heart, Cheap Trick, Donna Summer, Garth Brooks, and video game orchestrations for Michael Giacchino to name a very few.
Oh, and what the heck is a Creétisvan anyway? Well, when he was young Mike aspired to be a cartoonist; in his late teens and early twenties he created spacey cartoon collages.
To title this style of art he used a word unique to his own history—one that you won’t find in a dictionary (yet). Mike would use “Creetisvan” (no accent over the second ‘e’) for that art and later for his musical performances, and when he decided to retain it for the title of the album he added that accent to include the word “create”—denoting his devotion to artistry and creativity.
Bringing his artistic journey full circle some of the original artwork he created as a young adult will be found on the inside cover.
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Mike Tiano's Portfolio of Work